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Windows 8.1 Update Afflicted With Trouble

The hardest-hit are those with Microsoft's own device -- Surface RT tablets.

Microsoft has been rocked by the trouble-plagued update to Windows 8.

It's the last thing Redmond needs, as Windows 8 stumbled out of the gate intially, and Windows 8.1 was supposed to fix a lot of what users said was wrong with it.

That hasn't happened though, and has forced Microsoft into the embarrasing position of having to publish recovery media software for Windows RT users whose devices got "bricked" by the recently-released Windows RT 8.1 upgrade.

The trouble started with Microsoft's Windows RT 8.1 upgrade that was available via the Windows Store on Oct. 17. It became apparent over the weekend that some users applying the update were getting either blue screens or systems that wouldn't respond (known as "bricked"). Users with this problem saw the error code "0xc000000d," plus the following message:

Recovery
Your PC needs to be repaired
The Boot Configuration Data file is missing some required information

As one solution to the problem, Surface RT users can create a USB drive using Microsoft's newly released recovery media, available here, which will roll them back to Windows RT 8. Alternatively, they can contact Microsoft's support for Surface to make arrangements to send in their device for servicing, according to Microsoft's description of the problem.

However, those creating a recovery drive need to observe some caveats, according to Microsoft's instructions. They will need a second, non-bricked Surface RT device to download the recovery software. Next, they need a 4-GB USB drive to create the recovery media, but doing so will wipe out any other data on that drive.

Microsoft apparently first removed its Windows RT 8.1 update from the Windows Store as of Oct. 18. At that time, a Microsoft Community post indicated that the company would "provide updates as they become available." As of Monday, Oct. 21, there was no updated information in that forum about when the Windows RT 8.1 update would be available.

Microsoft has claimed that the glitch had affected "less than 1 of every 1,000 (or less than 0.1 percent) Surface RT customers who have installed Windows RT 8.1," according to a statement from the company issued to veteran Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley.

The problem seems tied to Microsoft's hardware product, the Surface RT, and not to other equipment makers' Windows RT-based products. Microsoft may be the last sole maker of new Surface RT machines after Dell ended its production. Dell apparently stopped selling its Surface RT-based devices last month.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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